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Wednesday, January 11 11, 2012


S Serving i the h U University i i off Al Alabama b since i 1894

Vol. 118, Issue 68

XIV BAMA 21 LSU 0 “We’ve got to finish things right. That’s our character. That’s what we do.” - Head Coach Nick Saban

CW | Drew Hoover


Stars offer pregame predictions


Eli Gold

Watch an interview with the owner of New Orleans’ premier Crimson Tide fan bar.

T h e Crimson W h i t e : Could you talk a little bit about your preparation for


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EDITORIAL Victor Luckerson editor-in-chief Jonathan Reed managing editor Will Tucker assistant managing editor Taylor Holland news editor Malcolm Cammeron community manager Ashley Chaffin lifestyles editor Tony Tsoukalas sports editor SoRelle Wyckoff opinions editor John Davis chief copy editor Jessie Hancock design editor Evan Szczepanski graphics editor Drew Hoover photo editor

the game? Eli Gold: Actually, truth be known, there’s no difference in my preparation for this game versus the Auburn game, versus the Georgia Southern game, versus the Kent State game. You prepare the same way. And taking that even a step further, it’s almost a little easier preparing for this game because it is a rematch, a lot of our area is in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, we always keep tabs on the SEC in general, so it’s not like had we been lining up Oklahoma State and you had to start memorizing a new roster of names and numbers. You recognize these players for LSU. So it’s really actually a little bit easier. But the actual mode of preparation? It’s the same. When you’re on the air for four hours, you’ve got to prepare the same way, it doesn’t matter who the opposition is. CW: Could you talk about announcing the LSU game the first time, on Nov. 5, with all the hype around the “Game of the Century?” EG: It was actually relaxing to finally get on the air. The run-up to the game was insane. I was talking with my cohort at LSU, Jim Hawthorne, the voice of the Tigers, and between he and I, we were on some 60 radio or television interviews the week leading up to the ballgame. I had done like 32 or 33 interviews – the phone would never stop ringing. Stations from everywhere, from Honolulu to Maine to South Florida – it doesn’t matter. They were all calling. Jim had the same experience. It was a relief to finally get on the air and say, good evening, and welcome to Bryant-Denny Stadium, because you knew, for at least the next three and a half hours, the phone wasn’t going to ring. But it was wonderful. This is why you get into this business. To be fortunate enough to get to broadcast

Tyler Crompton web editor

T h e Crimson White: Have you talked to anyone on the team as they prepare for the game tomorrow?

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a national championship game – this is why you get into this business. So I’ve been very, very lucky, and this is my third national championship game to broadcast, and I was on the correct side of the previous two. So I hope that streak doesn’t end here this weekend.

The Crimson White: What are your callers saying about this game?

CW: Do you have a line ready to say if Alabama were to win?

Paul Finebaum: You know, it’s predictable. Alabama folks don’t like what LSU fans are saying; LSU fans don’t like what Alabama fans are saying. But I think, for the most part, around our region they’re finally getting into it. I think there’s a little bit of a fatigue factor. I mean, we’ve been talking about this forever. And that’s fine. We’ve had championship games before where you’ve talked it out, but we’ve never had one where we had already talked about it for six weeks. You know, Nov. 5 was when the game was played, but we started talking about it in late September, maybe early October. So somebody asked me what this season has been like, and I said, it’s been like talking about Alabama and LSU. I think folks are enjoying it, but I think there’s this burden on everyone, going enough already, let’s just get this stupid game on the field Monday night.

EG: There’s nothing that’s preplanned, let’s start with that. After the first national title game in ’92, in this very building, I remember saying, “What a spectacular game, what a remarkable season.” Nothing Einstein-like, but it was alright. The morning of the game in Pasadena – and you’re going to laugh here, and maybe this is a visual that some folks don’t need, but I do some of my best thinking in the shower. I really do. And that morning, I started coming up with something to do with Alabama going back to the Rose Bowl, and the crimson roses, and I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to say but I had a general idea. And, eventually, when the team won, I said, “The roses in this grand old stadium are once again crimson,” referencing our first national title way back when in that same Rose Bowl stadium. My thinking for this game is it might well have something to do with the season of carnival, Mardi Gras. I have not yet formulated exactly what I would say. But you get an idea, and then you hope that your 38 years of experience will not desert you when the time comes. And you open your mouth and you pray that something good comes out. But is there anything written down word for word? No. But I have an idea of where I would like to go, and then we’ll roll the dice and see what comes out. When the game ended, Gold went with “Despite what the calendar says, for Crimson Tide fans, Mardi Gras, the season of celebration, is officially underway.” CW: Could we get you to say “Touchdown, Alabama!”? EG: No. I save those for game day. Don’t want to waste those babies.

Marcell Dareus

Daniel Roth multimedia editor

Amy Ramsey 348-7355 National Representative Classifieds Coordinator

Paul Finebaum

Marcell Dareus: Courtney Upshaw and Jarrell Harris and me have spent very good time together and talked about the game plan and things like that.

games. CW: Do you have a prediction for what’s going to happen? MD: Blowout.

MD: I don’t have a score, but I got a feeling. CW: Why do you think it’ll be so different from the first game, with a blowout?

Crimson White: Do you have a prediction for what’s going to happen? Marcell Dareus: Blowout.

Lee Corso The Crimson White: This will be the sixth straight SEC National

PF: I tend to just kind of laugh all those things off. What’s interesting to me, since being in New Orleans for a few days, has been how many national media guys are telling me, you know, I think Alabama’s going to win this time. If you take a general snapshot from around the country, you wouldn’t think Alabama has a chance – that is, until you look at the paper and [notice] they’re favored by one point. There are just so many inconsistencies with this game…two years ago in California, I mean, I really felt Alabama was going to beat Texas, and so did almost everyone else. Last year, you kind of had the same feeling with Auburn. This year…don’t have a clue. CW: What do you think the reaction among your callers and listeners would be if Alabama wins and the Coaches’ Trophy stays in the state of Alabama for a third year in a row? PF: Well, I don’t think Auburn fans would be too proud. But I think this game is really about Nick Saban. To say that Nick Saban is bigger than life would kind of get some laughter out there, because I think a lot of people watching already believe that…but consider that it would be three national championships now, two at Alabama. Everyone always talks about the first child being the most important or what-

CW: If Alabama were to win, and the national championship stayed in the state for a third year, what do you think the national perception of the state of Alabama and our football culture would be?

PF: I think it’s interesting. Our show is definitely a barometer. This show and [ESPN documentary] Roll Tide/War Eagle…it’s funny – walking around New Orleans, I’ve had a number of people stop me. And I can understand being stopped in Alabama, but I’ve had people stop me on the streets of New Orleans and say, “Hey, I saw you in that documentary.” And I think a lot of people looked at that program that was on ESPN, and that’s how they view Alabama football. I don’t know whether that’s right or not. I like it, because it presented our show as somewhat the voice of the state when it comes to college football, but I think people were surprised and interested. Like, Holly Rowe from ESPN came up to me today, and she said, ‘I was dumbfounded. I’ve covered games in Alabama, but in watching that documentary I never realized how utterly crazy people are.’ But I think it’s crazy in a good way. I don’t feel like we have to defend ourselves. We are who we are, and we take college football very seriously, and we do it better than anyone else. And I think what we’re talking about here, the possibility of three straight championships in the state, ends the debate.

CW: Do you feel like your show is the voice of the state, and in a good way?

PF: Well, it’s interesting…some Auburn professor came out in a new book and said that it’s sad that the state of Alabama is governed by the Finebaum show. We actually think that’s good. Because I will put my knowledge of what goes on in the state over any of the four or five last governors, some of whom went to jail. So we’re certainly more honest than the people in politics. But all kidding aside, I think the show represents the average person. The average person has a voice on this program, whether it’s a college student in Tuscaloosa or a factory worker in Birmingham or somebody on the docks in Mobile. And you know, I don’t apologize for it. I have rather strong language that I can’t say here to anyone who doesn’t like it. I’m proud of it, and I think the callers on this program enjoy the participation and the process as well.

CW: Do you have a score?

CW: What would you tell them about MD: They know what to expect now. They know what they got, where your experience in 2009? they’re going with it. MD: Well, of course they were with me, but I just told them, you know, stay CW: How do you think the way Coach focused – you never know when the big Saban coaches is going to affect this break will be and when you’ll have to game? step up and make a play. MD: They’re going to come back with a CW: How were you able to step up in vengeance in this game. They’re going to act like they don’t have anything to that game and make a play? lose. The only thing we [could] lose is a MD: You know, it’s a big stage. Big national title…but we got a lot of pride players make big plays in important to play for as well.

CW: Have any of your regular callers recently made any predictions?

ever, but I think this one would have to be the sweetest. I mean, you’re talking about against LSU in New Orleans. Pretty amazing stuff. And I think there’s so much on the line for him personally.

and by far the best conference – and I’ve seen them all for many years.

CW: If Nick Saban wins this game, he will have won a national championship against a school where he’s already won a national championship. What does that mean for him as a coach?

Championship. What does that say about the SEC compared to all the LC: Nick Saban is a great football coach because he wins. He other conferences? doesn’t care who they’re playing. Lee Corso: The SEC is by far the best He’s focused – boy, that guy is realconference. No question. Best coach- ly focused. I got great respect for es, best plans, best players, every- Saban. And I’ll tell you what, he is thing. No question the best players going to be a factor in this ballgame.

Mark Ingram The Crimson White: You have any predictions for what’s going to happen? Mark Ingram: Roll Tide, we’re going to win. CW: Is it going to be a close game?

MI: Yeah, I talked to him earlier tonight.

CW: What did you tell him about tomorrow?

MI: I don’t have to tell him anything. He’s ready to go. He’s played in a national championship before, and he knows the magnitude of the game. He knows what he has to do. He’s ready. CW: What do you think about the season he had this year?

MI: Definitely. I think it’ll be a close game. Two great teams, national cham- MI: One of the best seasons in SEC history…very prestigious that he had a big pionship…I think it’ll be a good game. time season. CW: What do you think went wrong last CW: Can you talk a little bit about what time? you were thinking the night before the MI: Just made some mistakes. You know, championship against Texas two years made more mistakes than they did. So, ago? we need to clean up the mistakes and we’ll be all right. MI: Just excited, ready to get on the field and show what we could do. We’d been CW: Have you talked to Trent preparing for about a month, and I was Richardson this week? just ready to play some football.

Greg McElroy T h e Crimson White: Do you have a prediction for the outcome?

Greg McElroy: I think 17-13, Bama. CW: What do you think went wrong the first time Alabama played LSU? GM: I think they played well, I just think they didn’t capitalize on the opportunities they had. It’s going to be a tossup…the team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to win. And it’s going to be a great one; I’m really looking forward to it.

team. I have not talked to AJ. He’s been busy…just let him do his thing, and we’ll catch up after the game. I have let those guys do their thing, but I think they all know that I’m here for them and they’re on my mind. CW: Can you talk about your experience in 2009, and what do you think is going through the players’ minds right now as they prepare for the game? GM: I think they’re excited. I think those guys will look at this like a great opportunity to really do something that’s going to last for as long as you’re around. I think that’s a really big part of it. I think those guys will think about what’s to be gained, not about what’s to be lost. They’ll be excited, and they’ll come out ready to go.

CW: How much do you miss Tuscaloosa? CW: Have you talked to AJ McCarron or GM: I miss Tuscaloosa. I love Tuscaloosa anybody on the team this week? more than anything. It’s the greatest litGM: I’ve talked to a few people on the tle city in the world, that’s for sure.

The Crimson White


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Zero Hesitation By Tony Tsoukalas Sports Editor


This word now has a special meaning for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Many believed the Tide had zero chance to make the BCS National Championship game after losing to LSU on Nov. 5. Those same people pointed to the number of touchdowns scored between the two teams in their last meeting. However, when the clock struck zero, the only zero that mattered for the Tide was the one beside LSU on the scoreboard as the Tide shut out the Tigers 21-0. “This is the greatest defense in the world,” cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said. “The greatest defense to touch the field, that’s how I feel.” The Tide defense shut down the LSU offense early, holding the Tigers to a three-and-out on the first drive of the game. After an Alabama punt, the Tide defense went right back to work, shutting down LSU again on a three-and-out. “I felt like if we did our job, then our offense was going to do its job,” defensive tackle Josh Chapman said. “We had their backs, and they had ours.” Marquis Maze would have the defense’s back on the very next play as he returned Brad Wing’s punt 49 yards to set the Tide up for a field goal. The play would be Maze’s last of the game – he injured his hamstring during the return and never made it back onto the field. “That play felt great until I injured my hamstring,” Maze said. “But you know, those types of injuries happen in the game of football, and I will be back.”

After t h e Tide’s N o v . 5 game against LSU, A l a b a m a kicker Jeremy Shelley shook off past kicking woes, knocking in his first of five field goals – a BCS bowl record – to give the Tide a 3-0 lead. “Once I hit that first one, it was a huge weight off my chest,” Shelley said. “The rest of the time, it was just stepping out and putting it through.” Quarterback AJ McCarron was crucial on offense for the Tide. The offensive MVP of the game went 23-34 with 234 yards and routinely brought Alabama down the field for scores. “I’m just glad Coach gave me the opportunity,” McCarron said. “I don’t think I did anything special, though. Like Coach always tells me, just go out and play your game.”

A haunting moment occurred for the Tide on Shelley’s second field goal attempt, as LSU defensive lineman Michael Brockers was able to block the kick and bring back memories of missed opportunities. However, Shelley stood strong, going 5-7 on the night and giving Alabama a 15-0 lead. “It was very big [to hit the following field goal],” Shelley said. “After that block, I had to hit a couple of kicks at that same range and farther, so coming out and having my mind right was huge for me.” As Alabama continued to frustrate the Tiger defense, safety Robert Lester and the Tide defense smelled blood. “Any team would be frustrated in such a big game like this,” Lester said. “It’s a goal of ours to frustrate the quarterback, and we accomplished that tonight.” Heading into the fourth quarter up 15-0, the Tide went back to the player who they have counted on all season, as Heisman finalist Trent Richardson ran 34 yards to seal the victory for the Tide. “When I seen my brother Trent [Richardson] run for a touchdown, it kind of sent chills down my body,” Kirkpatrick said. In a season of doubt and speculation, the Tide left no doubt about who was the best team in the nation. “We wanted to go out and win the game,” defensive MVP Courtney Upshaw said. “And that’s just one of our mottos – to finish.”

National Championships CONGRATULATIONS

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CW | John Michael Simpson Trent Richardson hoists the Coachesʼ Trophy after the Crimson Tideʼs victory over LSU.

Congrats to our

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The Crimson White

McCarron, Alabama take to air in victory may seem insurmountable. On Monday night, Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron was Alabama’s hero. “We knew coming into the Heroes are born from great opportunities; they rise to the game somebody else had occasion when called upon to step up,” McCarron said. and lead despite odds that “And Coach just gave me an

opportunity. Like I said, when you have a group of receivers like I have, makes your job easy as a quarterback. And you just have to put it in their area. They go up and make the plays for you, and they make you look like the hero.” The Mobile native stood

strong under pressure from the LSU defensive line, leading the Tide with poise down the field. “I said the whole year, he’s so fearless,” offensive lineman Barrett Jones said. “He handled this situation just like I expected him to, with no fear.” McCarron, who finished the day going 23-34 for 234 yards, earned Offensive MVP honors for the game. The young quarterback’s big-game presence was noted by many, including the Tide’s last championshipwinning quarterback, Greg McElroy. “I would be proud for them to consider me in that same type of shoes,” McElroy said after the game. “He played outstanding. He took what the defense gave him and played outstanding.” McCarron’s play might have been surprising to many fans. His teammates, however, never doubted for one second that he would deliver in the big game. “I really wasn’t surprised at all,” wide receiver Brandon Gibson said. “I’ve known AJ all my life, growing up with him in Mobile. I knew he was a great leader, and he is going to be even better next year.” Perhaps no one had as much faith in McCarron as former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, who before his last game as a Tide assistant coach sat down

CW | John Michael Simpson Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron directs the offense in Monday’s win over LSU. and discussed the game with McCarron. “On the bus ride the other day, I sat with [McElwain],” McCarron said. “He just talked, and he said, ‘Listen. You don’t have to win the game, just go play your game.’ And I felt like I did that tonight.” McElwain strayed from the Tide’s usual heavy ground attack early on in the game, choosing instead to let McCarron take control of the game with a mixture of play-action passes. The Tide quarterback said he appreciated the trust his coaches had in him and that he wanted to play well for McElwain in the coach’s final game before becaming the head coach at Colorado State.

“We have the best coaching staff in the country,” McCarron said. “And, I mean, I felt like it was in my hands to kind of send Coach Mack off on a win – a big win – off to his new coaching journey.” McCarron delivered for the Tide and will join the elite fraternity of national championship-winning quarterbacks at Alabama. His performance not only ended the Tide’s season on top, but also gave Alabama fans a reason to be excited about the future. “I am so proud of him and the way he competed,” Jones said. “It should give him a lot of confidence coming into next year. He’s gained so much confidence throughout the year, and we are so proud of him.”



By Tony Tsoukalas Sports Editor @Tony_Tsoukalas


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Wednesday, January 11, 2012


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Saban enshrines legacy of his own By Marquavius Burnett Assistant Sports Editor @Marq_Burnett Pleasing a perfectionist is a near impossible task. All men are creatures of habit and expect things to go a certain way, and they believe a certain level of hard work and dedication is necessary to become successful. This man has had more success in the last ten years than some people experience in a lifetime. He is no stranger to big moments, and he does his best work when the stage is the biggest and the lights are the brightest. He is a leader of men and the commander everyone wants leading their troops into battle. His fans and followers worship him and see him as the second coming of a certain “Bear,” but his players know him only by one name: Coach. Nick Saban became the first head coach in history to win three BCS National Championships, with a dominant win over the LSU Tigers

on Monday. Saban won his first championship in 2003, when he brought those same Tigers their first title since 1958. The second came in 2009, when the Crimson Tide went 14-0 in his third season as head coach. But for Saban, he said this year’s championship is the best. “To be honest with you, this team was a special team,” Saban said. “Not that 2009 was any different. I am certainly honored and privileged to be with a group that made the kind of commitment that you look for from a competitive character standpoint and intangibles that you always strive to try to get as a coach.” Saban is now 60 years old but has shown no signs of stopping. When asked if he still had the fire and passion for the game, Saban responded with a stern, “What do you think? Our guy jumps off sides with three minutes to go in the game, and you still coach the game like it’s the first game of the season – what do you think?” With that fire and passion comes the ability to laugh and enjoy the good times. One of the more

crystalizing moments during the postgame was Saban embracing the Gatorade bath. In 2009, Saban appeared not to enjoy the bath. This year, he jokingly said the players delivered better. “I enjoyed the Gatorade bath two years ago, but I was almost knocked out by it,” Saban said. “The players improved on their ability to deliver, and I improved on my ability to accept, and everybody was happy, except [Tom] Rinaldi. He didn’t want any of it, but he got some of it. I told him to send me his cleaning bill.” Ten years ago, this win would have been about Saban, the coach. This year, it is about Saban and how he has grown as a man. “The more knowledge and experience that we have gotten through the years, it has become more about the other people and less about me,” Saban said. “That has improved our ability to be effective. Affecting young people and getting them to move in the right direction to do the right things is important to being successful.”

CW | John Michael Simpson

The Tide’s special teams players swarmed LSU punt returner Tyrann Mathieu in the fourth quarter

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at Alabama celebrates their 14th national title in The Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Tide shut out LSU 21-0.

CW | Drew Hoover

Win ends calls for split title BLACK By Tony Tsoukalas Sports Editor @Tony_Tsoukalas

Crimson and white confetti rained down on Alabama players. Head coach Nick Saban raised the crystal ball. Trent Richardson leapt into a sea of crimson-clad fans. There was no doubt the Alabama Crimson Tide deserved the title of best team in the nation. “I don’t see how you can have a split title,� offensive lineman Barrett Jones said after the game. “If you look at the yards disparity, I just feel like we dominated the game, and there should not be a split title.� Alabama was named the AP champion for the eighth time in the history of the program, which ties the Tide with Notre Dame for most titles ever. Before the game, there were rumors that certain media

members would vote for LSU no matter what since the Tigers had already beaten Alabama. The Tide, however, came away with 55 of 60 first place votes. “Well, the only thing I can tell you is we think we had a great year,� LSU coach Les Miles said. “That this football team had as quality a run as there is in this country. Played eight nationally ranked teams. Played in six stadiums before the SEC championship game, which we won as well. I think this team accomplished a lot. I think that’s for the voters to figure.� Some said that Alabama did not deserve to play in the game, favoring an LSUOklahoma State matchup instead. “The system, it is what it is,� safety Robert Lester said. “They put us here, and the system obviously was right, because we played and came out with the W.�

CW | John Michael Simpson LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee stands on the sideline. Lee threw two interceptions against Alabama on Nov. 5.

Lester said the players played with an extra focus in order to prove that the Tide deserved their spot in the title game. “We were out to prove a point, and I feel like we did that today,� Lester said. “We beat ourselves in the first game, and we proved that.� Even LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson said after the game that Alabama proved they were the better team with their performance Monday night. ‘‘It feels like a nightmare, but it’s a learning experience,’’ Jefferson said. ‘’I’m facing reality. LSU finished second today. We all have to take

the situation and learn from it, but still, in all, we still had a great season. I had a pretty good career at LSU. This last game really was something we wanted to win, but we fell short.� While many doubted the Tide, claiming that LSU’s option attack would be the peril of what many thought was an inferior defense to LSU, Tide players proved up to the task and rose past expectations. “We proved to the world who the best team is,� defensive lineman Josh Chapman said. “I feel we have the best defense in the country, and we can prepare for anything.�


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CW | John Michael Simpson Nick Saban lifts his second CoachesĘź Trophy in three years. Across University Blvd. from Moe’s BBQ XXXFWFSZEBZJOEVMHFODFDPNtt6OJWFSTJUZ#MWE


8 Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The Crimson White

Tide dominates all phases of game CW | John Michael Simpson Clockwise from top right: Trent Richardson attempts to evade the LSU defense Dre Kirkpatrick takes down Tyrann Mathieu on a punt return. Kevin Norwood leaps over Tyrann Mathieu to grab a pass. Trent Richardson aims for the hole in LSU’s defense line. Courtney Upshaw won Defensive MVP honors for his performance against LSU. Jeremey Shelley made five of seven field goals, a record in BCS Bowl history.



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Players celebrate in Superdome after the shutout Running back Eddie Lacy enjoys post-game celebration. CW | John Michael Simpson

CW | John Michael Simpson Running back Trent Richardson speaks to the media following the game.

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The Crimson White Alabamaʼs defense wrapped up a steller season with a dominating performance.

CW I John Michael Simpson

Defensive stand unprecedented in BCS history By Marquavius Burnett Assistant Sports Editor @Marq_Burnett

1,397 yards of offense in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Going into the national championship game, Alabama was already the No. 1 ranked It is the most overstated defense statistically. Media saying in all of sports, but it members debated which constantly rings true: Defense defense was better, but a shutout in the national championwins championships. Nine total touchdowns and ship ended the discussions. “We felt like some people 2,387 yards of total offense are what Alabama’s tenacious may not have realized how defense allowed all season. To good we were as a defense,” put that in perspective, Baylor safety Mark Barron said. and Washington scored 17 “Some people thought LSU had touchdowns and accounted for the better defense, but I always

felt we had the better defense and the better team, and we proved that tonight.” The Crimson Tide played with a chip on their shoulder all game. The entire defense was flying around, swarming defenders and gang tackling nearly every time an LSU player touched the ball. The Tide only allowed 92 yards of total offense. LSU only crossed the 50-yard line once, late in the fourth quarter. “We knew that if we played our style of football, we could

dominate these guys,” defensive lineman Josh Chapman said. “We came out and proved to the world why we are the best team.” In their first meeting, LSU ripped off 148 rushing yards. This time around, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart drew up a game plan that held the Tigers to 39. “Kirby Smart did an outstanding job in making adjustments in the game,” head coach Nick Saban said. “He’s done a wonderful job with our defensive

team all year long, and I certainly hope that everybody realizes all that he’s contributed and all the other coaches on our staff have contributed in helping develop the right sort of character and attitude in our players to get this kind of high level of performance on a pretty consistent basis.” From start to finish, Alabama never took their foot off the gas. LSU’s offense never got into a rhythm because Alabama’s defensive players all stepped up and made plays.

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“It was just great execution by great players on a great defense,” Lester said. Going into the season, there were whispers of how great this Alabama defense could be. After their stellar performance on Monday, the Alabama defense showed the world they had lived up to the hype. “We work so hard in practice, so the games are just fun for us,” Barron said. “We don’t get tired, and it’s just a time for us to go out and dominate our opponents.”

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12 Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The Crimson White

Upshaw key to defense’s ‘legendary’ performance Linebacker inspires defense on way to second consecutive bowl Most Valuable Player award By Marquavius Burnett Assistant Sports Editor @Marq_Burnett

They say legends aren’t born, they’re made. For A l ab a m a l i n e b a c ke r Courtney Upshaw, his legend has grown to a level that even he couldn’t have imagined. Upshaw shined the brightest during the 2011 season for an Alabama team that featured defensive standouts Mark Barron, Dont’a Hightower and Dre Kirkpatrick. His play on the field was stellar, but his message to the team before the game was simple. “The leaders of our group stood up and said, ‘Let’s be legendary,’” Upshaw said. “We felt great at the beginning of the game. Everybody was getting to the ball and gang tackling. We proved why we are the best team in the country tonight.” He was awarded with the Defensive Most Valuable Player award for his efforts, but Upshaw is no stranger to that type of success and praise. Last season, he won the award after terrorizing Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the Capital One Bowl. “Courtney is a great guy and a great teammate,” safety Robert Lester said. “He won the MVP last year at the Capital One Bowl and again tonight. He’s a great player, and we expect big things from him.” After being announced as the winner, instead of making a speech about himself, he immediately turned and handed the award to safety Mark Barron. Upshaw and the rest of the Alabama defense played as an unselfish unit. “Coach Saban tells us all, even the guys on the

sideline, even if you’re not a player, just make sure you’re in the game,” Upshaw said. “When one player makes a play, all ten and the rest of the guys are trying to go celebrate with that guy. It’s about us going out and having fun with each other.” The entire Alabama defense played lights out all night against Louisiana State, with Upshaw leading the way. “We kept fighting on defense, and it felt great,” Upshaw said. “Coach Saban and Coach Smart both always have us prepared for big games like this. It’s been that way since spring, and it carried over to this game.” Upshaw finished the game with seven tackles and a sack, but those weren’t his biggest contributions to the game. His assignment was containing LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and stopping the run. The pass rush constantly got to Jefferson, and the senior struggled with the pressure. “We felt like we had him rattled tonight,” Upshaw said. “Every time they tried to run the ball, we stuffed them. The corners, the linebackers all did their job, and we executed well.” Upshaw finished the season with 51 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception return for a touchdown and 11 quarterback hurries. His ability to rush the passer from a standing position and with his hand on the ground gives him the versatility needed to play well on the next level. ESPN’s Todd McShay projects Upshaw as a top-15 NFL draft pick, and his performance in the title game only reinforced that projection.

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niv 1403 UT he Rec

Upshaw accepts his defensive MVP award. It was Upshawʼs second MVP in as many bowl games.

CW | Drew Hoover

CW | Drew Hoover Above: Upshaw zeroes in on LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson; Left: Upshaw brings down LSU running back Spencer Ware.

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The Crimson White



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

From Bourbon Street to the Superdome

Alabama fans filled New Orleans Monday, not just the stands

Junior Taylor Crawford watches Alabama football coach Nick Saban deliver his speech on TV at The Rusty Nail Monday evening after the 21-0 win. The bar in in New Orleans hosted a party for Bama fans to watch the BCS National Championship game. CW I Megan Smith

CW I John Michael Simpson

CW I Megan Smith

Cutline CW I John Michael Simpson Fans cheered the Tide on from the stands in the Superdome.

Tailgaters invade New Orleans Bama and LSU fans cope with urban environment LSU tailgaters parked their RVs in lots near the Superdome and cooked “a smorgasbord of South Louisiana food.”

By Victor Luckerson Editor-in-Chief

With more concrete than grass in tailgating areas, it’s a little trickier to set up a tent or haul in an RV in New Orleans than in Tuscaloosa. Still, fans of both Alabama and LSU could be found grilling out before Monday’s national championship game. LSU fans were in full force at area tailgates. RV parks scattered throughout a mile radius of the Superdome sported much purple and gold, with many featuring live music. Thomas LeBlanc, an LSU fan and resident of New Iberia, La., first began tailgating in New Orleans when the Tigers claimed their second national championship in 2004. He got another lot for the 2007 Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame and the 2008 national championship against Ohio State. LeBlanc’s tailgate this year, located in a parking lot on St. Charles Avenue, featured 20 different tailgating groups and ran from Saturday to Monday. “Everybody pitches in,” he said. “We’re cooking so many different things that if it eats grass or swims in the water, we’re cooking it. It’s like a smorgasbord of South Louisiana food.” The menu for championship weekend included oysters, fried frog legs, jambalaya and lamb lollipops. “Everybody’s proud of what they’ve got,” he said. “We just grill every kind of meat you can think about.” For the 2008 championship game, LeBlanc estimates that his group of tailgaters fed more than 1,000 people. “The thing was so crowded, it was like Mardi Gras down Bourbon Street,” he said. “You couldn’t hardly walk down it.” This year, LeBlanc sold wristbands for entry to the tailgate to help fund the large amount of food. However, he said that he welcomes all, including Alabama fans.

CW I Daniel Roth “They will come, and we will feed them. We do that with all the games. We even feed the homeless when they come by.” While LeBlanc’s was one of many prominent LSU tailgates downtown, it was harder to find Alabama fans grilling out. A rare crimson tent could be seen here and there in mostly purple and gold lots. Still, east of the Superdome on Canal Street, a few dozen Tide fans had gathered for a tailgate. Tony Parton, a Bama fan who has been a Tide Pride member since the group’s inception, spent days talking to New Orleans parking lot owners, trying to find a space that was both affordable and close to the action for him and his family. “There are several of us that are in Tide Pride that don’t have enough points to get the tickets, and some of our friends and wives and relatives did,” he said the morning of the game. “We came knowing we wouldn’t get in the game, but we’re going to tailgate and have the best time we can.” Parson said cost and a lack of knowledge of the area probably kept many Tide fans from setting up on prime downtown real estate. He said there were several larger Alabama tailgates a few miles further from the Superdome.

Kenny Martin, Parson’s brother-in-law, said he enjoyed having the tailgate so close to the stadium. Martin, who attended the championship, was also present for the 1992 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, when Alabama claimed its 12th national championship. “That was an awesome experience. We spent the entire time down here. Nobody except Alabama fans thought we were going to win. They just trash talked us. It was terrible. We went in that stadium to take care of business. This weekend, it seems a little bit the same to me. I don’t think anybody other than us Alabama fans think we’re going to win tonight.” With any Tide tailgates sticking out like a sore thumb, Martin and Parsons said they’d had their fair share of interactions with LSU fans. “It’s been about what I expected,” Martin said. “Most of the time, if you throw it right back at them, they’ll just smile and go on.” Martin said the tailgating experience on Canal was very different from Tuscaloosa. “Down there [in Tuscaloosa], we’re surrounded by a bunch of friends we’ve kept around each weekend,” he said. “This is a little more isolated, but we’ve got a great group of friends.”

CW I John Michael Simpson

14 Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The Crimson White

UA, LSU fans come together, give back to New Orleans By Stephen N. Dethrage Assistant News Editor

Students, faculty and alumni of the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University met at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana in New Orleans a day before the national championship to give back to the community that hosted the fans of both teams. The mixed group of fans worked together to paint classrooms and desks and revamp their baseball field. Several freshmen on LSU’s football team also joined the event and worked together to build a miniature football field on site. “LSU has been the best partner that we could have asked for, because this is obviously more their domain than ours,” said Chandler Wright, the UA SGA senator who organized the event. “They hooked us up with the Boys and Girls Club and did a lot of the leg work for us, which was super awesome.” When the Tide played Texas for the title two years ago, SGA leaders from both schools came together for a service project. “We kind of piggybacked off of that idea, but we wanted it to be something that the community could come out to and we could really involve the student body,” Wright said. Dozens of volunteers, donning the colors of both teams, worked for hours, both inside and outside the club. They also took time to make fleece

blankets, which the group sent back with the UA SGA to distribute to tornado victims. “I’ve been very pleased with the turnout,” Wright said. “You never know in New Orleans who’s going to come out in the morning. I’ve been really pleased with both the Alabama and LSU fans that have come out to support the community.” Ryan Flamerich, Speaker of the SGA Senate, said it is still important to help New Orleans more than six years after Hurricane Katrina. “This is basically a partnership between the University of Alabama and LSU,” Flamerich said. “Basically, what we have is members of the University of Alabama, alumni, faculty and students out here trying to rejuvenate a community center that was affected by Hurricane Katrina. The idea is the center will become a center where students who live around here have a safe place to come, be mentored through other programs and just play. So far, it’s been a great turnout.” Both SGA and University leaders considered the event a success. “It really is remarkable to see students from two different schools, rival schools, come together and put aside their differences for what we have in common and use their good work for the community here where we’ve all come together for this event,” Vice President of Student Affairs and Vice Provost Mark Nelson said.


CW | Megan Smith Top Left: Julia Wright and Caroline Wright (from left to right) help remove trash at an SGA event at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana. Top Right: Aliyah Israel, age 8, paints a baseball fence at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana at an SGA service event. Below Top Right: Aliyah Israel, age 8, paints a baseball fence at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana at an SGA service event.


Above: LSU Senior Faizan Ibrahim helps paint a baseball field with Quinton Anders, age 9, and Daesean Thompson, age 12, at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana at an SGA service event. Right: Robert Bostick, LSU Senior, makes a blanket to benefit tornado victims at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana at an SGA service event.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Season of celebration starts early in the Big Easy

CW I Megan Smith

A live band plays at the Sunday Stomp in New Orleans on Jan. 9.

CW I Megan Smith

Bama and LSU fans crowd Bourbon Street in New Orleans in the days leading up to the game.

CW I Megan Smith

16 Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The Crimson White

Saban and Tide players take trip to New Orleans hospital

The Crimson Tide visited West Jefferson Medical Center on Jan. 7 to visit with patients and sign autographs.

CW | John Michael Simpson


9:30 AM and 11:30 AM

Bryant Conference Center

The Crimson White



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Alumni provide safe harbor for fans in NOLA By Stephen N. Dethrage Assistant News Editor Hundreds of Alabama fans and a few out-of-place lovers of the Louisiana State University Tigers gathered at a bar called the Rusty Nail in New Orleans to watch the Crimson Tide overtake LSU and win their 14th national championship. The bar brands itself as the Crimson Tideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s official bar in New Orleans on game days, and Alabama faithful from all corners of the nation were represented at the bar by kickoff. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m from Maryland, but I just had to watch the game down here,â&#x20AC;? said Alexandra Constantine. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Southern hospitality brought me down here â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it just drew me. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never experienced it before. I would say the trip, its costs, the crowds â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all been worth it. This experience is incredible.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the barâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gameday experience that brings Alabama fans from across New Orleans and the region, majority owner David Brown said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have people driving from Mobile every weekend to watch games at the Rusty Nail,â&#x20AC;? Brown said. The bar offered Alabama fans a safe haven and likeminded peers to watch the game with, and supporters of the Tide flocked to the bar in droves, bearing a $10 cover, a long line at entrance and shoulder-to-shoulder crowding inside the bar. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been here for hours,â&#x20AC;? said Krystal Reid, a native of Ozark, Ala. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The atmosphere, with all the Roll Tide fans, is indescribable. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so much better in here.â&#x20AC;? Kyle Moore, a rare LSU fan inside the bar, said the experience wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a nightmare for a fan in purple and gold, but he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t plan to stay for the entire game. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m just here with my friends, you know, or Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d prob-

ably never be here tonight,â&#x20AC;? Moore said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is what it is. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had a good time so far; everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been really nice. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll probably leave before the game starts, and win or lose, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll definitely be out of here before itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s over.â&#x20AC;? Brown and several other alumni founded the bar in 2006, just a year after Hurricane Katrina decimated certain areas of New Orleans. The cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Warehouse District, largely untouched by the storm, experienced a flood of volunteers and aid workers that made up the Rusty Nailâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s early crowd. About two years later, Brown found a new way to draw in customers - on Saturdays. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I grew up here, and we never really had a place to go watch Bama games,â&#x20AC;? Brown said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So, I thought maybe itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d be a good idea to try to get in touch with a bunch of the alums in town and see if theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d want to meet and watch the games.â&#x20AC;? Brown said the crowd for Alabama games started out small and doubled year by year, turning the bar into the weekly attraction it is today during college football season. Mark Johnson, a lifetime fan of the Crimson Tide and native of Wetumpka, Ala., said there was no other place heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d watch the game. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even imagine bringing in number fourteen with a better crowd,â&#x20AC;? Johnson said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This place, this crowd, this bar, the whole thing just has blown me away, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m thrilled to be from Alabama, celebrating our win right here at the Rusty Nail.â&#x20AC;?


The Rusty Nail opened up its back parking lot to Bama fans and featured 4 extra bars and a 10-foot-tall inďŹ&#x201A;atable projection screen for Mondayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s championship game.

CW I Megan Smith


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Former coaches, players greet fans

By the numbers By Tony Tsoukalas Sports Editor Alabama kicker Jeremy Shelley tied a bowl record with five field goals against LSU. The Tide kicking game rebounded strong after missing four field goals on Nov. 5, as Shelley went 5-7 on field goal attempts.




8| 55|

The Alabama defense held LSU to a mere 92 yards during Monday’s title game. The Tigers were frustrated all night, as quarterback Jordan Jefferson never got anything going for LSU.

Wide receiver Kevin Norwood led Alabama with 78 reception yards. The sophomore was a surprise contributor and a key to Alabama’s success in the game.

Alabama has finished atop the Associated Press poll for the eighth time. The AP title ties Alabama with Notre Dame for most AP titles.

Alabama earned an overwhelming 55 first-place AP votes (out of a possible Running back Trent Richardson scored 60) en route to being named the AP the only touchdown between the two National Champion. Many thought teams when he broke away from LSU defenders for 34 yards and the score. AP voters would select LSU no matter what, but the The touchdown put the Tide up 21-0 and all but clinched Tide’s dominant performance proved too much for voters to ignore. the game for Alabama.



With three BCS championships, Alabama head coach Nick Saban stands alone among coaches with the most BCS titles. This was Saban’s second championship with the Tide in the last three years.


The Crimson White

LSU crossed the 50-yard line just once during the game. The Tide completely shut down the Tigers on offense, not playing a down in their own territory until the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Brandon Gibson drops a pass against LSU during the national championship game.

CW | Drew Hoover

By Taylor Holland News Editor Gene Stallings, Marcell Dareus and other former Alabama football greats joined fans at the New Orleans Convention Center the night before kickoff to reflect on past national championships and preview the school’s upcoming game against LSU. Former players and coaches participated in a moderated question and answer session before signing autographs for the hundreds of fans who attended the event, dubbed the Bama Bowl Bash in the Big Easy. “To be here means more than you think,” said Dareus, who now plays in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills. “I’ve been in Buffalo all year, and even though this is New Orleans, it feels like home. Everybody from Tuscaloosa came down to show some support to the University of Alabama, and I’ve come here and they’re showing me support like I’ve never left.” Fans such as Don Adams, the first Alabama fan standing in the autograph line, said being in New Orleans for the game means everything to them. “I was born in ’61 – national championship. I finished school in ’79 – national championship,” Adams said. “I’m 50 years old this year, and we’re going to take another one back to Alabama. I couldn’t be more excited to be here.” David Wilson, SGA vice president of student affairs, said the SGA decided to help the Alumni Association sponsor the Bama Bowl Bash because they knew it would be a great event for students to attend before the game. “We’re here for the national championship, and this is a big deal for the University, but more importantly, this is something where alumni and students came together and made this possible,” Wilson said. “I think that

CW|Megan Smith Former Alabama player Preston Dial signs an autograph at Bama Bowl Bash. The Bash kicked off at the Convention Center in New Orleans and included numerous guest speakers.

it’s very important to continue to build off of that.” Other former players that attended the event included Shaun Alexander, Tyrone Prothro, Jay Barker and Preston Dial. “It’s an honor to be here with the guys,” Dial said. “They’re all still my teammates and brothers. I’m proud of these guys, even the ones I didn’t play with. I feel like they’re at least first cousins. We’ve got great guys, and their will to win and their will to do it right is what I’m proud of.” Joining Dareus and Dial from the 2009 national championship team was linebacker Cory Reamer, who said he thought it was unreal that Alabama was back in New Orleans playing for the title after being in the same situation less than 20 years ago. “It’s exciting to come back and see the Alabama fans showing this kind of support for the team before the national championship in New Orleans,” Reamer said. Many former players at the event said they offered current team members some words of advice prior to the title game. “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift – the words of Steve Prefontaine,” Dareus said.




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The Crimson White  
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The Crimson White is a student publication that seeks to inform the University of Alabama.